Date:December 20, 2002
To:All Wisconsin Licensed Property and Casualty Insurers
From:Connie L. O'Connell, Commissioner of Insurance
Subject:Expedited Filing Procedures for Compliance with the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act of 2002

Background

Congress recently enacted and, on November 26, 2002, the President has signed into law, the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act of 2002 (The Act). This federal law provides a federal backstop for defined acts of terrorism and imposes certain obligations on insurers.

The intent of this bulletin is to advise you of certain provisions of the Act that may require insurers to submit a filing in Wisconsin and to inform you regarding a voluntary procedure this office will implement in order to expedite the filing and timely review of policy language and the applicable rates that are discussed in the Act. The use of disclosure notices is also discussed.

Subsection 102(6) of the Act defines "insurers" for purposes of the Act. "Insurer" means any entity and affiliate thereof--(A) that is--(i) licensed or admitted to engage in the business of providing primary or excess insurance in any State; (ii) an eligible surplus line carrier listed on the Quarterly Listing of Alien Insurers of the NAIC, or any successor thereto; (iii) approved for the purpose of offering property and casualty insurance by a Federal agency in connection with maritime, energy, or aviation activity; (iv) a State residual market insurance entity or State workers' compensation fund; (B) that receives direct earned premium for any type of commercial property and casualty insurance coverage. The Secretary of Treasury may extend the Act to other classes or types of captive insurers and other self-insured arrangements by municipalities and other entities as well as to group life insurance.

Subsection 102(12) of the Act states that the term "property and casualty insurance" (A) means commercial lines of property and casualty insurance, including excess insurance, workers' compensation insurance, and surety insurance, and (B) does not include crop or livestock insurance, private mortgage or title insurance, financial guaranty insurance issued by monoline financial guaranty insurance corporations, medical malpractice, health or life insurance including group life, flood insurance provided under the National Flood Insurance Act, or reinsurance or retrocessional reinsurance.

All insurers, as defined in the Act, are required by the Act to participate in the Terrorism Insurance Program (the Program) and make available coverage for insured losses in all of their covered commercial lines policies. The term "insured loss" means any loss resulting from an act of terrorism (including an act of war, in the case of workers' compensation) that is covered by primary or excess property and casualty insurance issued by an insurer if such loss-(i) occurs within the United States; or (ii) occurs in an air carrier (as described in section 40102 of title 49, United States Code), to a United States flag vessel (or a vessel based principally in the United States, on which United States income tax is paid and whose insurance coverage is subject to regulation in the United States), regardless of where the loss occurs, or at the premises of a United States mission. The Act also advises that insured loss excludes amounts awarded in a civil action that are attributable to punitive damages. The Act further requires insurers to make available property and casualty insurance coverage for insured losses that do not differ materially from the terms, amounts, and other coverage limitations applicable to losses arising from events other than acts of terrorism.

The Act voids any terrorism exclusions in a contract for property and casualty insurance that is in force on the date of enactment of this Act to the extent that it excludes losses that would otherwise be insured losses. The Act also voids any state approval of any terrorism exclusion from a contract for property or casualty insurance that is in force on the date of enactment of this Act to the extent that it excludes losses that would otherwise be insured losses. The Act allows insurers to "reinstate a preexisting provision in a contract for commercial property and casualty insurance that is in force on the date of enactment of this Act and that excludes coverage for acts of terrorism only" if one of two conditions are met. The insurer must have received a written statement from the insured that affirmatively authorizes such reinstatement or if the insurer has provided notice to the insured, at least 30 days before any such reinstatement and the insured fails to pay any increased premium charged by the insurer for providing such terrorism coverage.

Definition of Insured Loss

Section 102(5) of the Act provides a definition of insured loss. It states: "the term 'insured loss' means any loss resulting from an act of terrorism (including an act of war, in the case of workers' compensation) that is covered by primary or excess property and casualty insurance issued by an insurer if such loss-(A) occurs within the United States; or (B) occurs to an air carrier (as defined in section 40102 of title 49, United States Code), to a United States flag vessel (or a vessel based principally in the United States, on which United States income tax is paid and whose insurance coverage is subject to regulation in the United States), regardless of where the loss occurs, or at the premises of any United States mission."

As a result of the definition for insured loss contained in the Act, there are essentially two distinct types of losses that a business might face that result from terrorism. One type of loss is the insured loss that is defined within and covered by the provisions of the Act. For convenience, we will adopt the moniker of "certified loss" to refer to losses resulting from certified acts of terrorism. The second type of loss that a business might face is one that does not fit within the definition of insured loss as described in the Act. For convenience, we will adopt the moniker of "non-certified loss" to refer to losses resulting from acts of terrorism that are not certified as such. The most significant difference between these losses is that the certified losses will always involve a foreign person or foreign interest, while the non-certified losses may not.

  • Please note that the preemption of this state's form filing law, s. 631.20, Wis. Stat., applies only to contract language that is applicable to certified losses. In addition, if an insurer intends to reinstate an exclusion on in-force policies as allowed under the Act, it may only reinstate an exclusion that previously existed on the policy. Also note that Wisconsin is a standard fire policy state and the ability to limit coverage is restricted for certain fire losses as described in section Ins. 6.76(3) Wis. Admin. Code. Exclusions on in-force policies are not voided by the Act to the extent they relate to non-certified losses.

This state has allowed, and will continue to allow, some significant limitations that provide coverage for acts of terrorism under certain circumstances. For example, for policies providing property insurance coverage, the following limitations apply to non-certified losses:

  • Exclusion for acts of terrorism only apply if the acts of terrorism result in industry-wide insured losses that exceed $25,000,000 for related incidents that occur within a 72 hour period;
  • Exclusions for acts of terrorism are not subject to the limitations above if:
    • The act involves the use, release or escape of nuclear materials, or that directly or indirectly results in nuclear reaction or radiation or radioactive contamination;
    • The act is carried out by means of the dispersal or application of pathogenic or poisonous biological or chemical materials; or
    • Pathogenic or poisonous biological or chemical materials are released, and it appears that one purpose of the terrorism was to release such materials.
  • The exclusion does not apply to losses as the result of fire, as limited by the standard fire policy language in section Ins. 6.76(3) Wis. Admin. Code.

For policies providing liability insurance coverage, the following limitations apply to non-certified losses:

  • Exclusion for acts of terrorism only apply if the acts of terrorism result in industry-wide insured losses that exceed $25,000,000 for related incidents that occur within a 72 hour period; or
  • Fifty or more persons sustain death or serious physical injury for related incidents that occur within a 72 hour period. For purposes of this provision serious physical injury means:
    • Physical injury that involves a substantial risk of death;
    • Protracted and obvious physical disfigurement; or
    • Protracted loss of or impairment of the function of a bodily member or organ.
  • Exclusions for acts of terrorism are not subject to the limitations above if:
    • The act involves the use, release or escape of nuclear materials, or that directly or indirectly results in nuclear reaction or radiation or radioactive contamination;
    • The act is carried out by means of the dispersal or application of pathogenic or poisonous biological or chemical materials; or
    • Pathogenic or poisonous biological or chemical materials are released, and it appears that one purpose of the terrorism was to release such materials.

Definition of Act of Terrorism

Section 102(1) defines an act of terrorism for purposes of the Act. Section 102(1)(A) states, "The term act of terrorism means any act that is certified by the Secretary of the Treasury, in concurrence with the Secretary of State, and the Attorney General of the United States-(i) to be an act of terrorism; (ii) to be a violent act or an act that is dangerous to-(I) human life: (II) property; or (III) infrastructure; (iii) to have resulted in damage within the United States, or outside the United States in the case of-(I) an air carrier or vessel described in paragraph (5)(B); or (II) the premises of a United States mission; and (iv) to have been committed by an individual or individuals acting on behalf of any foreign person or foreign interest, as part of an effort to coerce the civilian population of the United States or to influence the policy or affect the conduct of the United States Government by coercion." Section 102(1)(B) states, "No act shall be certified by the Secretary as an act of terrorism if-(i) the act is committed as part of the course of a war declared by the Congress, except that this clause shall not apply with respect to any coverage for workers' compensation; or (ii) property and casualty insurance losses resulting from the act, in the aggregate, do not exceed $5,000,000." Section 102(1)(C) and (D) specify that the determinations are final and not subject to judicial review and that the Secretary of the Treasury cannot delegate the determination to anyone.

This state will not allow exclusions of coverage for acts of terrorism that fail to be certified losses solely because they fall below the $5,000,000 threshold in Section 102(1)(B) on any policy that provides coverage for certified losses. Insurers required to file policy forms may submit language containing coverage limitations for certified losses that exceed $100 billion.

The Act includes a definition of acts of terrorism that is used within this bulletin to mean certified losses. Policies subject to policy form filing requirements should also define what constitutes an act of terrorism for non-certified losses. For non-certified losses, this state would accept the following definition, or one that is more liberal to policyholders:

The phrase "non-certified act of terrorism" means a violent act or an act that is dangerous to human life, property; or infrastructure that is committed by an individual or individuals and that appears to be part of an effort to coerce a civilian population or to influence the policy or affect the conduct of any government by coercion, and the act is not certified as a terrorist act pursuant to the Federal Terrorism Risk Insurance Act of 2002.

Submission of Rates, Policy Form Language and Disclosure Notices

Insurers are required to comply with the Act and with state law. Section 106(a)(2)(B) of the Act states that "during the period beginning on the date of enactment of this Act and ending on December 31, 2003, rates and forms for terrorism risk insurance coverage covered by this title and filed with any State shall not be subject to prior approval or a waiting period under any law of a State that would otherwise be applicable. . ." The subsection further notes that rates remain subject to subsequent regulatory review based on whether a rate is "excessive, inadequate, or unfairly discriminatory" and other applicable state law. Similarly, policy forms are subject to subsequent review based on all applicable laws and regulations. Thus, a system is created where insurers can immediately implement prospective rate changes for coverage of insured losses related to acts of terrorism as defined in the Act. Policy language for terrorism risk and insurance covered by the Act (granting coverage or excluding coverage for insured losses) is only exempt from prior approval or waiting periods to the extent that the policy language relates to insured losses as defined in the Act. Other policy language changes and related pricing remain subject to current applicable state law and will be processed in an expedited manner.

If an insurer relies on an advisory organization to file loss costs and related rating systems on its behalf, no rate filing is required unless an insurer plans to use a different loss cost multiplier than is currently on file for coverage for certified losses. The rate filing should provide sufficient information for the reviewer to determine what price would be charged to a business seeking to cover certified losses. Wisconsin will accept filings that contain a specified percentage of premium to provide for coverage for certified losses. Insurers may also choose to use rating plans that take into account other factors such as geography, building profile, proximity to target risks and other reasonable rating factors. The insurer should state in the filing the basis that it has for selection of the rates and rating systems that it chooses to apply. The supporting documentation should be sufficient for the reviewer to determine if the rates are excessive, inadequate or unfairly discriminatory. Wisconsin will not waive its requirements for supporting documentation for rates for certified losses.

Insurers must submit the policy language that they intend to use in Wisconsin within a reasonable time after they are implemented. Wisconsin considers 30 days to be a reasonable time for purposes of completing an expedited filing of policy language. The policy should define acts of terrorism and both certified and non-certified losses in ways that are consistent with the Act, state law and the guidance provided in this bulletin. The definitions, terms and conditions should be complete and accurately describe the coverage that will be provided in the policy.

Disclosure Notices

Wisconsin is not requiring the filing of disclosure notices used by insurers to satisfy the disclosure requirements of the Act. Disclosure notices are an integral part of the process for notification of policyholders in this State and should be clear and not misleading to business owners in this State. The disclosures should comply with the requirements of the Act and should be consistent with the policy language and rates filed by the insurer. Two sample disclosure forms, developed by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, are attached for your information. One disclosure form documents an affirmative rejection of coverage for certified losses. The other form discloses the fact that coverage exists for certified losses and includes the insurer's disclosure of the related premium change. We have been informed that the Department of the Treasury has indicated, absent a regulation by that department, these examples of policyholder disclosure would satisfy the provisions of the Act for disclosure. Insurers are not required to use the attached samples and may use their own disclosure forms.

Details about the applicable disclosure requirements are contained in the following two paragraphs.

In-force business receives special consideration under the Act. Section 105(a) voids any terrorism exclusion on existing policies to the extent that it excludes losses that would otherwise be insured losses as defined in the Act. It details a process for insurers and policyholders to reinstate the voided exclusions. Under that process, an insurer may reinstate a preexisting provision in a contract that is in force on the date of enactment of this Act and that excludes coverage for an act of terrorism only if the insurer has received a written statement from the insured that affirmatively authorizes such reinstatement or if the insured fails to pay any increased premium charged by the insurer for providing such coverage and the insurer provided notice, at least 30 days before any such reinstatement as provided in Section 105 of the Act.

There are also disclosures required for new business and renewal business. Although voidance of contract language is not an issue, insurers must make certain disclosures to policyholders to remain in compliance with the Act. Section 103(b)(2) requires insurers to provide a clear and conspicuous disclosure to the policyholder of the premium charged for covered insured losses and advise that a federal program exists where the federal government will share significant portions of major insured losses with insurers.

Effect on Workers' Compensation Insurance Coverage

Treatment of workers' compensation is slightly different than for other property and casualty insurance coverages. First, Section 102(1)(B)(i) provides that the federal program will share the risk of loss for workers' compensation for acts of war in addition to acts of terrorism. This treatment occurs because of the statutory nature of the workers' compensation program, which does not provide an exclusion for losses resulting from an act of war. The standard workers' compensation policy used in Wisconsin does not contain an exclusion for workers' compensation losses resulting from an act of war. There is no provision in the Act that would preempt the compulsory coverage aspects of workers' compensation insurance policies. In other respects, however, workers' compensation coverage is treated under the Act as any other covered line of insurance. Therefore, the notice requirements of Section 103(b)(2) and the mandatory "make available" requirements of Section 103(c) apply to workers' compensation policies. In this connection, workers' compensation insurers are required to separately state (the amount of) the estimated portion of the premium being charged a policyholder for acts of terrorism, as defined in the Act. As this state's workers' compensation law does not have any exclusions for terrorism or war, neither insurers nor policyholders may use the Act's procedures to create such an exclusion. With regard to the filing and approval of rates and forms, workers' compensation insurers are also covered by the Act, specifically Section 106(a)(2)(B) that waives any state prior approval or time requirements for the first year of the Act. Such insurers shall therefore follow the alternative filing procedures established in this bulletin. However, insurers are to file the worker's compensation filings with the Wisconsin Compensation Rating Bureau (WCRB). The WCRB will be accepting worker's compensation filings on behalf of the Office of the Commissioner of Insurance. The WCRB, as a rate service organization, will file a terrorism rate which a member insurer can use as an alternative to setting and developing its own rate.

Optional Provision for Standard Fire Policy States

In this state, the requirements for fire coverage are established by law and where applicable, must meet or exceed the provisions of the Standard Fire Policy. These legal requirements cannot be waived. Thus, a business cannot voluntarily waive this mandated coverage. The provisions of Ins. 6.76(3), Wis. Admin. Code, do not apply to boiler and machinery or commercial crime policies. Insurers will need to include in their filings for commercial property, farm property, and commercial inland marine a provision that will not exclude damage from fire.

Information for SERFF Filers

For insurers that use the SERFF system, there will be an expedited filing form in that system for your use.

Explanation and Instructions for Terrorism Rate and Form Review

The Act preempts any state prior approval law pertaining to rates or forms--including any law that imposes waiting periods--prior to use of a form for purposes of terrorism coverage, as defined by the Act. This preemption remains in effect for the first year of the Act. Consistent with these requirements of the Act, this bulletin establishes a system for rates and forms, requiring insurers or advisory organizations to file their rates and forms no later than 30 days after their first date of use The procedure for obtaining an expedited review of such rates and forms is set forth below. Policy language changes and related pricing for non-certified losses remain subject to current applicable state law and will be processed in an expedited manner.

Forms with Instructions

Attached to this bulletin (see link below) is a uniform filing transmittal form that has been agreed upon by this state and other states. An insurer or advisory organization wishing to receive expedited treatment of its filing shall complete the EXPEDITED FILING TRANSMITTAL DOCUMENT--FOR TERRORISM RISK INSURANCE FORMS AND PRICING as directed. In addition, the insurer(s) or advisory organization submitting the filing must certify that the filing is consistent with this bulletin, state law and the provisions of the Act. Certification is made by signing the appropriate blank on the transmittal form. Filings for policy language changes and related pricing for non-certified losses, which remain subject to current applicable state law, may be made using the attached filing transmittal form, but the insurer will need to attach the Wisconsin certification of compliance as outlined in section Ins 6.05, Wis. Admin. Code. These filings will be processed in an expedited manner.

To be complete, an expedited filing, in response to the Act, must include the following:

  1. A completed, certified Expedited Filing Transmittal Document for each insurer or advisory organization.
  2. A completed Wisconsin certification of compliance for form filings.
  3. One copy of each policy form or endorsement that the insurer intends to use, unless the insurer has given an advisory organization authorization to file them on its behalf.
  4. A copy of the rates and rating systems along with the supporting documentation, if required.

A postage-paid, self-addressed envelope large enough to accommodate the return. Note that a comparable filing transmittal form is available in SERFF.

If this filing is for multiple companies, list all companies on the transmittal header and provide an extra copy for return to the company.

Effective Date

The information contained in this bulletin takes effect immediately. The expedited filing process outlined herein shall expire on December 31, 2003. The remainder of the bulletin shall expire on December 31, 2005, unless Congress extends the duration of the Act.

Contact information

For questions about and the process or rate filings contact Sue Ezalarab at sue.ezalarab@wisconsin.gov or 608 266-8885. For questions about the text of this bulletin please e-mail Philip Kress at philip.kress@oci.state.wi.us. His phone number is 608-266-0430.

Additional information is available on the Internet sites of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners and the Department of the Treasury. The Internet addresses are http://www.naic.org and http://www.treasury.gov/trip.

Thank you.


EXPEDITED FILING TRANSMITTAL DOCUMENT--FOR TERRORISM RISK INSURANCE FORMS AND PRICING (opens in new window) (pdf format)